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South Staffordshire Water Co. v. Sharman
Court of Queen’s Bench
2 Q.B. 44 (1896)
South Staffordshire Water Company (plaintiff) owned property that contained a pool and hired Sharman (defendant) to clean the pool. In the mud at the base of the pool Sharman found two gold rings. South Staffordshire insisted that Sharman turn over the rings, but Sharman declined and gave them instead to the police. Finding no success at locating the rings’ owners, the police eventually returned the rings to Sharman. South Staffordshire filed suit demanding the return of the rings. The lower court found that no contract existed that would expressly vest ownership rights in South Staffordshire. The court held that the precedent set forth in Bridges v. Hawkesworth, 21 L.J. Q.B. 75 (1851), applied to the facts of the case and established a right to ownership by Sharman exclusive of everyone but the true owners of the rings. South Staffordshire appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lord Russell of Killowen, C.J.)
Concurrence (Wills, J.)
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